Monthly Archives: December 2014

On the seventh day of Christmas… hope that envisions a new heaven and a new earth.

Wondering Pilgrim

800px-Justice_statueThis morning another eight Christian leaders face court in Perth on charges of trespass, a result of advocacy for asylum seeker children in the face of political intransigence and obfuscation. A particularly disturbing feature of the incidents of these arrests was the decision by the police, for the first time, to introduce strip-search procedures, evidently designed to intimidate and deter further protests. A year of like protest actions has turned a dark corner. However, those charged would still direct our thoughts to those languishing in detention in the tropical hell-holes of Manus and Nauru, where minors fear for their lives and remain devoid of hope. Christmas has something to do with the climax of the apocalyptic terror in John’s Revelation where a new heaven and a new earth are revealed. Revelation 21:1-6 is replete with prophetic imagery of hope realised. For two millennia, it has sustained the hopes and aspirations for…

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On the sixth day of Christmas – cosmic outlook!

Wondering Pilgrim

Constellation_Fornax,_EXtreme_Deep_FieldImagine being freed of all spatial and temporal limitation! The high fence surrounding our time frame of an allotted threescore and ten (or thereabout) is torn down. Star Trek type transportation effortlessly disassembles and reunites our cells so that, at a word,  we can be present to any place in the universe. We are perennially at the peak of our health and vitality. We are more fulfilled than we can ever have imagined, engaged in the purpose of a loving, sustaining, expanding stance to one another, indeed to all that is.

One can only revert to familiar science fiction memes to express an appreciation of the sacred awareness that is the gift described by the text for the sixth day of Christmas – Ephesians 1:3-14.    Through the coming of Christ, all limiting barriers that separate us from ourselves, others, the Creator and the creation are dissolved. God’s awareness becomes…

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On the fifth day of Christmas … unconstrained love

Wondering Pilgrim

800px-Columpio_Veracruz_059Love … the kind that puts others’ interests as first priority … is often constrained, especially under stress. Disrupted routines, whether well-off families on holidays, refugees seeking asylum, or those managing unforeseen crises, render it difficult to focus on our own needs, let alone the needs of others.

Jeremiah 31:7-14 is the fifth day of Christmas gift. It’s primary context speaks of a boundless love from God for his exiled people. It is appropriated for the Christmas season as vindication. See – God has always been with his people and now dwells amongst them, incarnated in the child born to Mary and Joseph on Nazareth! This gift is so boundless; it embraces the universe.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3b)

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On the fourth day of Christmas… an orientation to praise and thanksgiving.

Wondering Pilgrim

WP_001721When visiting one of the rural districts surrounding Zvishavane in the south of Zimbabwe 3 months ago, we were struck by the resilience of those who lived on the parched plots with little easy access to water, healthcare and education for their children. We were exploring a program run by the Zimbabwe churches with whom we partner that assists grandparents caring for grandchildren orphaned mostly by AIDS. Material help with seeds, chickens, goats, consumables and education fees are provided, along with pastoral support.

When one gogo (grandmother) was asked what else she needed, she replied, “The ability to keep praising God!” Her family had been particularly harshly ravaged by illness, failed crops and sheer misfortune. In her wisdom, she perceived a capacity to be positively oriented to the world through her faith to be a true gift.

On the fourth day of Christmas may our gift be that given by this…

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On the third day of Christmas….clothes!

Wondering Pilgrim

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, not those bargains from the Boxing Day sales. The prophet rhapsodies over gifts of garments representing security, belonging, freedom and hope for the realisation of a vision where all is right with the world. To wear this apparel is to celebrate, as if at a wedding. Something new is beginning and we dress accordingly. Festive garlands, soothing oils and a garden setting complete the picture. The birth of Jesus is the event that triggers recollections of Isaiah’s song: indeed this song is a response that almost immediately follows the prophet’s manifesto read by Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue as he commenced his ministry.

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On the second day of Christmas…Nunc Dimittis

Wondering Pilgrim

These words of completion spontaneously uttered by old Simeon and reinforced by even older Anna, when they encountered the infant Jesus during the customary Jewish purification rites, have given us the gift of the Nunc Dimittis. Here is one rendition of it:

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Advent Voices – Christmas Eve

Wondering Pilgrim

COLLECTIE_TROPENMUSEUM_IJzeren_voetring_voor_gevangenen_TMnr_3912-475Festivity and celebration occur for very good reasons. In our pampered state, it marks a break in routine, a legitimate season to hang loose and indulge the hedonistic sides of our nature. In our reflective state, we realise that a momentous event in the history of our world caused a seismic shift in our perception of who we are. One that first defined the universe with the words “Let there be light” made a visitation and dwelled amongst us for a season. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the assembly in Galatia, he writes of our “adoption.” No longer are we slaves to our limited perceptions, but sons and daughters of the divine, heirs to a brand new perspective, freed to live life for each other abundantly.

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